February 2015 Director’s Fellows Updates

By Claudia Robaina, 2 years ago

Hi everyone! Before you keep reading, you might be wondering: “What is the Director’s Fellows Program anyway? Why does it exist?” Well, guess what. The two-minute video above might just help answer those questions. Take a peek!

Last month, nine director’s fellows traveled to the Media Lab to host workshops during MIT’s Independent Activities Period (IAP). From making interactive games using microbiomes as fodder to building tattoo guns from supplies available at a prison coop, the Fellows led the Media Lab’s students, faculty and staff in conversations that may not have happened if it weren’t for the unique world experiences of the Director’s Fellows. We’re excited to see what collaborations grow out of this awesome event!

Here are some updates from our Fellows:

Shaka Senghor has joined DF Van Jones’ #Cut50 initiative as the director of strategy and innovation. He will be participating in the Bipartisan Summit on Criminal Justice Reform in March.

Last July, Juliana Rotich and David Kobia led the DF workshop in Nairobi, Kenya. Out of this came an exciting current collaboration: a team of ML students are now working with Kenyan developers on a ranger app to track poaching in the savannah. Read about this project and others here.

Colleen Macklin is teaching a course at Parsons this semester in collaboration with the Media Lab. The class, Playful Collaborations, features DFs Maurice Ashley and Marco Tempest, and ML alum David Kong as guest lecturers.

Marco Tempest is also guest lecturing at the Media Lab for the ‘Magic as Interface, Technology and Tradition’ class this week.

Joyce Kim‘s startup company, Stellar, recently announced the mobile savings account. The CTO of the Praekelt Foundation is working with Joyce and Stellar to launch a new messaging app designed for young girls in developing countries to trade airtime minutes like currency. Read about the initiative here. Joyce was also featured in Fast Money as “The Woman Changing How Money Moves Around the World“. Did you know more than 2.5 billion people across the globe lack a formal bank deposit account? Joyce’s company aims to assist these individuals as she explains,

Within Stellar’s network, users can move money directly between people, companies, and financial institutions as easily as sending them an email.

Jeff Sturges recently completed work on a prototype for events intended to foster creative collaborations between people of diverse cultures, skill sets and ages involved in makerspaces call the Hyper Interactive Hip Hop Carnival. Watch the video documentary!

Philipp Schmidt, accompanied by a team of students and researchers, will be representing the Media Lab’s work on creative learning at the launch of New Profit’s Reimagine Learning Initiative at NY Fashion Week.

Quentin Mitchell will be tackling the Kenyan National Championship in his Skoda Fabia S2000 with a completely rebranded team. The season gets underway in Kisumu City on February 21st.

Maurice Ashley signed a deal for the Millionaire Chess Tournament to be a part of Caesar’s Entertainment hotels for at least three more years. He and his team also just announced a promotion deal with Sunset Lane Entertainment to pitch Millionaire Chess to television networks and other entertainment venues.